NBA: Walker's 37 lead Celtics past Magic


Posted at Jan 25 2020 12:26 PM


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Kemba Walker scored 37 points, Gordon Hayward added 22 and the short-handed Boston Celtics surged past the host Orlando Magic 109-98 on Friday night.

Hayward also had 14 rebounds, and Daniel Theis chipped in 16 points as the Celtics won their third straight.

Boston played without two of its three top scorers in Jayson Tatum (right groin strain) and Jaylen Brown (right ankle sprain), and key reserve Enes Kanter also was out with a right hip contusion.

Evan Fournier had a team-high 30 points, Nikola Vucevic added 17 and 12 rebounds and Aaron Gordon scored 12 for the Magic, who lost for the fourth time in their last five.

The Celtics went down by 16 early in the second quarter but were within four at the break thanks to 19 points in the quarter and 27 in the half from Walker.

Boston went up 70-69 on a Theis bucket with 4:07 left for its first lead since 5:42 of the first and ended the third quarter on an 18-8 stretch to take an 82-77 advantage into the fourth.

Walker was at it again in the final quarter, hitting a pair of 3s and two free throws to reach 35 points as the Celtics grew their lead to 14 with 8:46 remaining.

A pair of Fournier treys helped the Magic stay within six with three minutes to go, but a Theis dunk and Marcus Smart basket gave Boston a 9-point edge with 1:11 left.

The Magic used a 23-6 run to grab their first 10-point lead, 30-20, with 2:01 left in the first. Orlando ended the period up 30-24.

The Magic took their largest lead (46-30) of the half with 7:45 to go in the second, but Walker scored 13 straight points for the Celtics as they got within 54-43.

Treys from Grant Williams and Hayward in the final minute had Boston trailing 57-53 at intermission.

Fournier paced Orlando with 15 first-half points.

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